Croatia, Albania join NATO

WASHINGTON, United States – Croatia and Albania completed their NATO accession processes and became members of the Alliance on Wednesday (April 1st), expanding the group to 28, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced.

Attending the ceremony in Washington were Albania’s Ambassador to the United States Aleksander Sallabanda and his Croatian counterpart, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Both countries will participate as full-fledged members at the NATO summit that begins on Friday in Strasbourg, France.

Albanian President Bamir Topi welcomed membership and thanked the Allies for supporting the process. He added that Albania now has both more responsibilities and more allies, which will help it achieve its goals.

Croatian President Stipe Mesic said on Wednesday that by joining the ranks of NATO, Croatia has fulfilled one of two strategic foreign policy goals, the other being EU membership. NATO entry confirms Croatia “has embraced and defends high democratic standards”, he said.

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